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    why i’m launching 50 projects on my 50th birthday celebration – says Ooni of Ife

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    The Ooni Of Ife, Arole Oduduwa Two Other Royalties Unveils Equity Health Group

    The paramount ruler of the Yoruba race, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, (Ojaja II), recently hosted select journalists to a private session in Lagos, where he unveiled his grand plans for his 50th birthday celebration, among other topical issues. ROTIMI IGE was there and presents excerpts…

     

    You are the ruler of one of the earliest tribes in the world. You will be turning 50 in a few months. Is there any other thing that you aspire to become?

     

    We all come to this world for a certain reason and for me, to the glory of God, there is nothing I will ever aspire to become again in life. I have gotten to my peak and the utmost thing to do is to create a legacy for myself and be impactful to mankind. For me, clocking 50 is beyond celebration. It is beyond the normal routine of what is expected from everybody. For this, I want to showcase 50 iconic projects as I turn 50. Those 50 iconic projects are very impactful projects that cut across every sector and are also very impactful to human endeavours.

    Also read: Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi announces new date for 2024 AyanAgalu traditional drum festival

     

    Many people don’t really know what I do. Even before I became the Ooni of Ife in the last nine years, God has used me to set up very strong and formidable projects all over the world. I want to showcase that to the world, for the world to see that truly, you can be on the throne and still impact lives.

    The projects cut across so many strata of race, ethnic and even religious beliefs. When I do the unveiling, people will have a better understanding about who I am.

    Many people see me in different light.s It’s like half cup full and half cup empty but I have been very focused. One of the projects that God has actually used me to do is the revolution in the fashion industry. I see myself as a team player, especially when it comes to promoting our home made goods in the area of textile.

    For example, my queen, Olori Aderonke, who has been industrious and very resourceful at anything she does, has been able to anchor the Africa Fashion Week very well. Also is the emergence and manufacturing of Adire textile. We have a hub and with it, we have been able to do a lot. The hub has been able to showcase a lot of good things that can come out of our dear country Nigeria.

    Truly, we need to believe in our country. We are not very serious in Nigeria. The only due we owe as a nation is patriotism. If we are very patriotic, we will realise that we will go very far. It is better we know that patriotism is what will take this nation out of the current doldrums. To me, the textile hub is a project I believe in so much. The Adire Odua followed the passion of Olori Aderonke which is African Fashion Week London. I can tell the world that it is actually what brought us together about 12 years ago.

    We pretty much started it together. It wasn’t my idea, I only support her. I can say it boastfully and with all humility, that I have been the only consistent supporter. So from day one, I know that every year, I must do something. That has made us stronger together as friends, aassociates and now as husband and wife. I am very proud of what she does because I like surrounding myself with very resourceful people. She is one of the best and greatest minds that is so resourceful that I have ever come across. I am looking for a day to celebrate her but that will be topic for another day.

    What I did was to partner with her to become a formidable force to be impactful. So, out of the 50 projects that I want to showcase, one of it is the Adire Odua textile. We have been able to spread it across the world, to so many western countries. The Adire Ooni is 100 percent made in Nigeria. The only two components that are not here is maybe the importation of dye but we have our own material too which is indigo. We are doing further research on how to bring out an industry that will be making dye because we still import those items. Aside that, every other thing about Adire Odua is 90 to 95 per cent locally made.

    I keep asking our people why we keep talking about dollar. Dollar is not our legal tender here but it going up every time. We are not a serious country. Some people here in Nigeria, even the water they use in bathing is dollar based. I am serious, some very wealthy Nigerians bring water from out of the country. They say the water must have some level of alkaline and all. As small as toothpicks, some people import it. It s really a big issue as a nation.

    Everyday that I wake up, whatever I do, especially what I put on, I ask myself if it is justifying ‘proudly Nigerian’. If everybody can be doing that, including you the media people, the demand for dollar will go down. The day every Nigerian will say enough is enough to imported goods and focus on what we can produce in Nigeria, that is when we will become a better nation.

    That is what is bringing the topic of African Fashion Week in London, Nigeria, Brazil etc. We are also taking African fashion week to the Caribbean and all over. We are telling people that it is a brand that came out of Nigeria that is an international now. We have seen big brands that come from other countries, which brands have we grown from this our nation? How are we impacting the country by developing employment for the youth. In the past 20 years we have grown over 60 million in population.

    So for me, I will showcase 50 projects that God has actually used me to pioneer. We will show how it has helped people in the areas of the health sector, entertainment, manufacturing, education etc. Many people don’t know that I have a university called ‘Ojaja University’. I am putting together one of the best hospitals in the world here in Nigeria. A hospital where we will handle real emergencies without issues. The hospital has the best of everything.

    We will align with some foundations that can help when patients cannot meet up with demands of their treatment. It’s a place patients will be treated first before every other bureaucracy. It’s located in Lekki Phase One.

    It’s one of the projects that I am going to showcase for my 50th anniversary. I didn’t even know how I achieved 50 projects. That’s the highlight of my 50th birthday. For me, it’s beyond being a king. For me, it’s service to humanity and God almighty will uphold it all.

     

    So we can call you the philanthropist king?

     

    If you wish to, yes.

     

    When is the actual date for your birthday?

     

    My birthday is October 17. Culturally, a king of my status shouldn’t normally celebrate birthdays, but because I am tying its significance to the projects to benefit humanity, I am celebrating it with the whole world.

     

    Like they usually say, do you feel 50?

     

    No, I don’t. I am very restless. To me, it’s all about numbers. Normally on this throne, I am not supposed to celebrate my birthday but because of the youth advocacy things I do, I I should cancel my age and celebrate only the days that I am on the throne. This is because I am a father to all, whether you are old or young. For me I want to use it to pass a legacy message to the younger people to show them that you can achieve things at a particular time. Always ask yourself, how impactful are you in whatever you do.

     

    Tell us about your personal style…

     

    It is the call of the throne that is making dress like I do now. Dressing in all -white indicates, purity, spirituality, clarity and a very strong connection to my spirit head. On my own, I have added some panache and refinement to it. For me, when you look at me from head to toe everyday, everything I wear is 80 to 90 percent made in Nigeria. I am a also cobbler. When I was a kid, I went to learn shoe-making. I still make my shoes till date. I design all my shoes till date.

     

    You do the drawing or sketch of your shoes?

     

    I do the drawing. I choose the materials for the shoe. My regalia is Aso-oke from Ilorin. I know my suppliers and I don’t pay them in dollars. I pay them in naira. The embroidery in the Aso-oke is made by the same manufacturer. The satin part of my regalia is made in Aba. My beads are from Ife. We are known for coral beads in Ife, so they are made in my community. I go as far as Ekiti, Benin, Ibadan to get my beads done.

    I don’t wear wristwatches because time belongs to God. I don’t relate to time like that. There is value in time. For me, every second counts, so why should I be looking at it every second.

    The beads on my hands are made in Nigeria. I have been very consistent with them. I just try to add a little bit of style and modesty. The shorter necklace is bronze technology. It is very spiritual.

    The gold I wear is from my community and Ilesha. I am happy that the Nigerian government have started doing partitional mining. They buy gold from miners to use for transaction. So, we are heading somewhere. Before, they used to send it outside the country.

    I have been shouting about this for a long time that we can make these things transactional. Instead of us to be looking for dollars, we have gold here.

    Let the Nigerian government continue to buy it in naira and value or store it in dollars. If federal government had paid attention to this, we would have been the greatest bullion collector of gold in the world. Nigerian gold is the best in the world but a lot of people don’t know.

    My crown has cowries there. Olori Aderonke have tried to style me in Adire but I told her I need it in white, so she is still researching. I wear the Adire if there is need to add it to my attire. I implore all of us to be conscious of our nation. The new national anthem is much stronger. Be patriotic. Buy made in Nigeria goods.

     

    Do you miss your former fashion and style, like your jeans and t-shirts?

     

    Of course, I miss it because it’s a means for me to keep simple. I uphold the spirituality of the Yoruba people and so I don’t have the privilege that some other kings have. I miss it so much but it is what is. I have to wear white all the time and I cannot even switch off light. Everything must be white.

     

    People try to compare you to the former Ooni of Ife, saying that the former Ooni did not shake hands with certain people or be in certain places or parties, what do you think about it?

     

    At some point, I used to bother about what people say but I don’t bother any longer. I focus on what I want to achieve now. Maybe when I present the 50 projects I have soon, many people will know that I don’t have energy to bother about such things. I keep my eyes on the ball, very focused so that I can get things done.

    Comparing me with my predecessor, there was no social media then. My predecessor was my father of blessed memory. During his time, there was no social media but he was a very powerful socialite. Even, he socialised more than I do but there was no social media then, only television and newspapers. There is a mysticism around throne of Ooni, very strong but these days, if you don’t blend tradition with modernity, you are going to lose out. The mystery is there, if you want to scare people away, then how do you want development for the youth?

    How do we relate with our people? We need to grow a lot of people in this country. The mysticism is there, I don’t dilute it but I manage the two and that is what I stand for. I said it that I want to blend tradition and modernity when I ascended the throne. I woke up today and saw that on social media, people saying that I went to Davido’s wedding party and also that people were shaking my hand.

    I laughed because it is just news. We all know news is news depending on how you want to spin it. I want to spin any bad news they say about me to good things. People like to talk about me a lot but they know little about me. That has helped me shield some of the achievements that I will be unveiling soon.

     

    Ife has a very good museum, among other assets. What are your plans to make it a tourists haven?

     

    We have a lot of heritage monumental assets, but the problem is the bad roads. We have been appealing to government to help up construct more roads. Thank God they have done Lagos-Ibadan express road. The Ibadan to Ife road is another advocacy campaign that we are making.

     

    So, if I seat in the palace, waiting for people to come to Ife via that bad road, before you get to me, you would have lost like two to three tires. Will the person want to come after that experience?

     

    Yes, it is important to sit in the palace, but if you want to achieve something, then you must move. Once the road is done, Ife has a robust heritage to explore.

     

    As the king, what extent of authority does your staff hold?

     

    The staff hold a great power. We the Yoruba people are very lucky because our heritage is the single largest ethnic race in the world. Even China, which has the largest population in the world are very different. But Yorubas are linked. You may be practising Islam or Christianity, our names are links to our heritage and all our ancestors. No other race in the world has it. So all the way to Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Bahamas and most African countries, we have that link as a race. The staff is the extent of authority, beyond even the government. It is the heritage, tradition and culture. Its something to be held on to that is critical.

     

    You represent the Yoruba race, what can be done for people to begin to draw attention to Ife as the source?

     

    We will get there. It is one of the things I am working on as the king on the throne. I am working on getting the connecting infrastructure right, then we start to build capacity. Some of our very powerful festivals in Ife attracts millions of people. We have 12 major festivals that are like blockbusters.

    Everyday in Ife, we have things to do, except one day. So in 365 days in a year, we have more than 300 activities to do in Ife. We still have about 12 to 14 festivals that are very massive and powerful. Many people do not know that about 500 to 600 years in the world, there was nothing like calendar or January to December. For us the new year starts after the festival of Ifa. We use nature to count the year. Every 27 to 28 days, there will be full moon. Once there is a full moon. It is a complete one month.

    It is 13 times that we have full moon in one year. So every thirteenth full moon is a new year and it starts around May ending and June. That is the new year for the Nigerian belief of the Yoruba people. It is tied to nature. That is the time you start to prepare for your harvest. Then you now pray to God to have a bountiful harvest between September and October, after the second maximum rainfall. That is where the advent of thanksgiving came. The Gregorian calendar is man made just like the new year we all celebrate in December.

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    54 African Nations military set to storm Abuja as Nigeria hosts 2nd Africa Military Games – DHQ

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    54 African Nations military set to storm Abuja as Nigeria hosts 2nd Africa Military Games – DHQ

    The Defence Headquarters(DHQ), Friday said it has concluded arrangements to host the 2nd Africa Military Games scheduled for November 2024.

    The 2 weeks military games is expected to have 54 African Nations militaries in attendance including Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso who had announced their exit from ECOWAS.

    The Director Sports Defence Headquarters Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Abidemi Marquis who made this known at a media briefing said despite the tension in ECOWAS over the exit of some countries from the body, military athletes from Mail,Niger,Burkina Faso and Guinea have indicated their interests to participate in the game’s scheduled for November 5-18, at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

    Marquis said the event with the theme “enhancing military cooperation in Africa through sport” will afford african countries opportunity to interact with one another towards sustaining good relationship built over the years, just as he noted that the events will feature both male and female athletes participating in 19 sporting events.

    He said President, Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the grand patron for this second African military game is the president, while the minister of Defense, Mohammed Badaru is the Patron with the chief of Defense Staff General Christopher Musa will serve as the Chief host while the service chiefs serve as co hosts

    While noting that the games is aimed at cementing the camaraderie and cooperation that is existing among african countries and enhance security on the Continent, Marquis, said that about 43 nations have already submitted their first primary agreement to participate in the games such as Badminton, boxing, basketball, combat swimming, football, golf, judo, kickboxing, obstacle crossing, shooting, Squash, table tennis, lawn tennis, taekwondo, volleyball and wrestling etc.

    He noted that the benefits of hosting the games are enormous ranging from boosting tourism and steering up the economy.

    “So for Nigeria, while hosting these games is going to increase tourists to our. it will project Nigeria to the world. Nigeria will be visible. So when tourists come to your country, they are coming to spend money on accommodation, food, transportation, souvenirs and other goods and services. So hosting these games is a positive force multiplier with respect to economic growth”.

    He said the games will also spur infrastructure development such as hotels and others there by improving the life of the citizens.

    Also speaking, President, OSMA Major General Abdullahi Maikano said OSMA being a non political organization strives to unite all African military through sporting activities.

    He said Nigeria was granted the hosting right after 24 years due its capability and believed the event will be a success.

    He said “We at the OSMA headquarters, we gave the hosting right to Nigeria, we’re expecting nothing but to have the best and we believed Nigeria has the capacity. Nigeria has all it takes to host. They have been hosting other events but this is a unique event because it involves the armed forces of Africa and by implication, some of our friends from Russia, Germany, United States of America also come”

    He further stated that the athletes from other African countries like Ghana have already entered camp and indicated interests to participate.

    He also said that the Ambassador of Burkina Faso has also assured that the military athletes will be participating in the event.

    “Our aim is to have the 54 member nation of Africa and the motto is peace in Africa. And Nigeria is going to give us that way and fair ways to get peace in Africa. You see, the aim of this our event is to bring peace to Africa. The military are the ones to be in the forefront for fighting and we want to also be in the forefront to bring peace to Africa”.

    General Abdullahi stated further despite crisis,the Sudanese military has indicated interest to participate,adding that he’ll continue to campaign for more countries to participate.

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    Nigerian film “Kimono Kid” debuts at Toronto Film Festival

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    Nigerian film “Kimono Kid” debuts at Toronto Film Festival

    Nigerian filmmakers, Seyi Akinlade and Josef Adamu have set the international stage alive with the first screening of “Kimono Kid” at the 49th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

    Akonitv reports that the Toronto International Film Festival starts on September 5 to 15, 2024, in Toronto, Canada.

    The film ‘Kimono Kid’ marks its feature directorial debut as it tells the story of a young man who turns to martial arts as a means to process grief and overcome self-doubt following a personal loss.

    Akinlade and Adamu, known for their previous short film “Mind Matters” which explored themes of mental health from a youth perspective, are enthusiastic to unveil this new project to audiences.

    Speaking at an event in Lagos on Saturday, Adamu stated that the film demonstrates their ongoing commitment to crafting stories that uplift communities and facilitate important discussions.

    Adamu added that one of the most memorable aspects of making the film was witnessing young martial artists in Nigeria demonstrate their advanced skills on set.

    He said, “It was truly inspiring to see up close. I’m glad we were able to provide a platform to share their talents with the world.”

    The film’s underlying message of finding inner strength to rise above life’s challenges reflects the filmmakers’ dedication to empowering and motivating viewers through their art.

    TIFF is a prestigious platform, and having the Nigerian representation provides an incredible opportunity to share our work with a global audience, opening doors for further collaborations and projects. It’s a proud moment for everyone involved in the film, showcasing the talent and creativity coming out of Nigeria.

    The Nigerian premiere of Kimono Kid is set for the end of the year.

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    HMCA 2024 to gather Tourism Minister, 400 African hoteliers, 15 African countries in Lagos

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    HMCA 2024 to gather Tourism Minister, 400 African hoteliers, 15 African countries in Lagos

    The stage is set this week for the opening of this year’s annual Hotel Managers and Conference and Awards (HMCA) 2024, with Lola Ade-John, Nigerian Tourism Minister, leading delegates from over 15 African countries and 400 participants across Nigeria to Lagos for the hospitality industry gathering.

    It will be held from July 13 -14, 2024 at the Lagos Continental Hotel, with the theme; Innovative Strategies: Nurturing Resilience and Excellence in Guest Experience in African Hospitality.

    Ade-John is the chief host and is expected to deliver an address to the August gathering on Nigeria’s agenda for the industry, while over 400 participants from across Nigeria are signed up for the two-day gathering. For the first time, the event will attract delegates from African countries with over 15 countries registered for the event.

    The countries include; Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, and Rwanda. Also, attending the event are delegates from the United Kingdom.

    It is the sixth edition of the yearly conference convened by Olugbenga Omotayo Sunday, director general, Hotel Managers Conference – Africa.

    According to Sunday, ‘‘The Hotel Managers Conference and Awards was envisioned for hotel managers in Africa for skills upgrade, networking and hotel job opportunities.

    ‘‘It recognises the important roles hotel staff play in sustaining standards in Africa and globally. Hence, the conference seeks to upgrade hotel business operations in Nigeria and Africa to match what is obtainable in other hotels internationally.’’

    “Our core focus is building capacities in the human resources across hospitality brands in Africa both international and Indigenous brands, in administration and general operations standards.’’

    On the choice of the theme for this year, Sunday, who is also lead consultant at Tojum Hospitality, noted, “In the dynamic landscape of hospitality, innovation becomes the cornerstone for fostering resilience and achieving excellence in guest experience. This conference will unravel groundbreaking strategies that go beyond conventional approaches.

    ‘‘From harnessing cutting-edge technologies to cultivating a resilient mindset, attendees will explore how innovation becomes the catalyst for elevating guest experiences to unprecedented levels.’’

    Some of the speakers expected at the conference’s panel sessions include; Karl Hala, group general manager, Continental Hotels in Nigeria; Olufemi Abayomi, CEO/founder, Nethermentor, regional chairman, Institute of Hospitality (UK) Nigeria Region; Lydia Akuna, lecturer, Department of Hotel and Hospitality Management, Moi University-Eldoret, Kenya; Michael Pinder, general manager, JS Signature Hotel, Port Harcourt; Ekene Nnabuihe, group chief executive officer, Boulevard Hotel Group Lagos; Justina Ovat, national president, Women In Hospitality Nigeria; Molly Apion, chairperson, Hotel General Manager’s Association, Uganda and general manager, Arch Apartments and Hotel, Uganda; and Amir M. Adamu, founder and executive director, Hospitality Innovation and Leadership Forum, Cameroon.

    The conference, which will climax with the Hotel Managers Awards Night, on the second day of the event, has as headline sponsor; LG Electronics Nigeria and idsnext as co-headline sponsor as well while other sponsors include; Lagos Continental, Providus Bank, Radisson Hotel Group, Wakanow, Old English, BusyRooms, Nigerian Bottling Company, Ikogosi Resorts, Presken Hotels Group, Eko Hotels and Suites and Bizedge.

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